Australia is about to witness a revolutionary new golf format with a new teams-based event, the Ultra Golf Championship, set to be launched after next season’s tournaments.
The Ultra Golf Championship (UGC) will debut in December 2023, played over nine holes with a unique and exciting scoring system. Dates and venues will be announced in 2023.
There will be 10 city-based teams from around the world who will compete for the inaugural title which will feature four players, including a marquee captain, with the competition set to be played over four days, the teams of four split into pairs for the competition.
The scoring system is designed for thrilling golf – 10 points for an ace, eight for an albatross, six for an eagle, four for a birdie and two for a par. It also includes four feature hole opportunities that must be used during the nine-hole round, including a longest drive, power-play, alternate-shot and best-ball.
The longest drive will be a pre-nominated hole where a team will receive three bonus points for the longest drive on that hole, with the power-play netting teams double points for that nominated hole; alternate shot requires players to take alternating shots (foursomes) for that hole, and the best-ball allows the team to take the best drive from the tee shot.
With the teams playing seven minor rounds and a final series, there will be 74 matches played over the four days, with the top four playing off in the finals – 1 v 2 grand final, 3 v 4 playing for third place.
The 10 city teams are already locked in:
• Bangkok Blades
• Delhi Drivers
• Dubai Kings
• London Lasers
• Los Angeles Eagles
• New York Tigers
• Melbourne Rockets
• Shanghai Jets
• Seoul Condors
• Tokyo Royals
The overall concept has been designed by UGC founder Deke Smith, with the PGA of Australia a promoting partner and sanctioning body through the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.
“For more than five years, we’ve been working on the UGC as short-formed, strategic and tactical golf tournament,” Smith said.
“We are appealing to a wider fan base, giving people a new way to consume their golf, sport and entertainment, and we think that it’s a great way to grow the game of golf.
“We see this concept appealing to a younger audience because we will see a result in two hours’ of golf. We see parochial sports fans getting behind their own city team.
“It’s taken us some time to get to this point, but we couldn’t be more excited about what is to come. We think it’s something that golf needs in this country and we’re excited to be delivering it.”
The integration of the feature holes is an exciting prospect for fans – who doesn’t love to see a long ball hit? The other three feature holes are fluid, so the suspense will be heightened for fans, trying to guess and understand teams’ strategies.
PGA Tour of Australasia tournaments director Nick Dastey said the UGC has the potential to grow the game in Australia.
“This is an event we are passionate about and it continues to align with our innovation in the game in Australia,” Dastey said.
“We know once this world first format has some of the best players in the world showcasing it on TV next year, Ultra Golf Championship will become a part of all golf fans life through both professional and amateur golf with anyone able to play and enjoy the format.”